Spaß mit Hedge-Funds – Nachtrag zu Sowood Capital

Ineressanterweise hat gestern auch Marc Andreesen von pmarca den Absturz des Hedge-Funds von Sowood Capital aufgegriffen. Und nicht nur das – Andreesen hat den Brief der Fondsmanager an ihre Anleger wiedergegeben und kommentiert. Ich habe fast Tränen gelacht bei der Lektüre der Kommentare (obwohl der Anlass des massiven Kapitalverlusts vieler Anleger eher zum Weinen ist!). Es ist ein Lehrbuchbeispiel, wie sich – wieder einmal – überschätzte Hedge-Funds-Manager – verspekulieren, im Netz unerwarteter dafür aber umso gravierenderer Ereignisse verheddern und in innerhalb kürzester Zeit einen Großteil des Geldes ihrer Anleger buchstäblich verbrennen. Auch hier hat Buffett schon alles gesagt: „Regel Nr. 1 für jeden Investor: Verliere niemals Geld. Regel Nr. 2: Vergiß nie Regel Nr. 1

Hier im Wortlaut der Brief von Sowood Capital, in eckigen Klammern die Kommentare von Andreesen (Hervorhebung von mir, alles auf Englisch):

Today we made the painful and difficult decision to sell substantially all the funds’ portfolio [what was left of the portfolio — a little more than 40% of what they started the year with] to Citadel Investment Group [another hedge fund].

We took this step to protect your investment [they’re being honest in saying this; the alternative would have been worse].

Our actions over the weekend followed severe declines in the value of our credit positions [the market for many of our holdings became particularly illiquid, due to a lack of buyers, and prices dropped dramatically] and non-performance of offsetting hedges [everything went to hell at once].

Given what we were facing and our uncertain ability to meet margin calls [we were leveraged — we used debt to double down on our bets to juice returns, common for this class of hedge funds], we sought other buyers for some or all of the positions [all our peers on Wall Street smelled „blood in the water“ and drove down market prices even further].

Citadel offered the only immediate and comprehensive solution [Citadel is probably being brilliant in buying this portfolio at basically 40-some cents on the dollar — but time will tell…].

The transaction enabled us to avoid anticipated forced sales at extreme prices that would have been made in order to satisfy obligations under our counterparty agreements [sure, we were already down more than 50%, but if we had actually sold in the open market, we maybe would have ended up down 80% or more].

After the transaction with Citadel, the Net Asset Value (NAV) of Sowood Alpha Fund Ltd. and Sowood Alpha Fund LP will have declined approximately 57% and 53% month to date respectively, and approximately 56% and 51% calendar year to date respectively. As a result, our NAV as of July 30 is approximately $1.5 billion. [We just vaporized more than $1.5 billion dollars of your money.]

We understand this is a very difficult moment for you [well, OK, that is an understatement]

We are planning a listen-only conference call later this week at which time I will discuss the actions we took over this past weekend and next steps [you can scream at me but I won’t be able to hear you] (….)

Gesamter Brief hier.

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